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Kenya Clean Cooking Week Blog Series: Day 1- Open Coordination Committee Meeting

1st February 2023
Clean Cooking

By Beryl Onjala (Gamos East Africa), Dr Jon Leary (Gamos East Africa), Dr Faith Wandera (MoEP), Philomena Mitalo (CCAK), Syprose Ochieng (Gamos East Africa)

This is the first of a five-part series on the Kenya Clean Cooking Week that took place in Nairobi, Kenya between 28th November 2022 and 2nd December 2022. UKPACT and MECS joined forces to support the 2022 Clean Cooking Week alongside many other sponsors. Organised as a collaboration between the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum (MoEP) and the Clean Cooking Association of Kenya (CCAK), this event was the most successful to date and we are grateful to all partners who made this possible. It brought together key stakeholders in the clean cooking sector for an exhibition, plenary sessions, and networking events. The total list of sponsors can be found at the bottom of the blog.

Past Coordination Committee meetings have been limited to the select nominees to the Coordination Committee. This meeting provided a platform for a wider range of stakeholders to engage with the process of developing a Clean Cooking Strategy for Kenya.

Figure 1: Dr Faith Wandera from the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum giving Participants an Overview of KNCCS Development Process. Image credit: Gamos East Africa

During the session, MoEP, represented by Mr. Dan Marangu and Dr. Faith Wandera, gave an overview of the KNCCS process, highlighting the role that it will play in providing a roadmap to achieving universal access to clean cooking by 2028. MoEP highlighted the importance of collaborating with stakeholders in the development of the KNCCS and took participants through the ongoing and upcoming studies that are expected to feed into the KNCCS.

Figure 2: Prof Ed Brown giving an overview of the KNCCS process. Image credit: Gamos East Africa

Development partners, MECS, AFD, and GIZ informed participants of the specific studies and projects that they are facilitating as part of the KNCCS development process. Updates were given on the status of studies on alternative fuels, consumer and enterprise financing, institutions and business access to clean cooking solutions, biogas, the cooking sector regulatory framework, the behaviour change and communication strategy, knowledge management, and the LPG study. There were also updates on the overall status of the KNCCS overarching strategy, eCooking strategy, and financing for implementation.

From the detailed presentation that EED Advisory, the consultancy firm leading the development of the KNCCS, represented by Murefu Barasa , the majority of those in attendance were for the first time able to envision what an overarching clean cooking strategy would entail and the value that it could offer to the  cooking sector as a whole. This was especially important at the beginning of the KNCCS process, where stakeholder input can influence on the strategy development process itself, not just to refine an almost finished product in a validation workshop at the end of the process.

Figure 3: Mr Murefu Barasa from EED Advisory taking participants through the envisioned process of developing the KNCCS. Image credit: Gamos East Africa

Murefu talked participants through the current status of the cooking sector in Kenya, painting a picture of the negative impacts that result when the majority of households still use unclean cooking fuels. He then highlighted the various pathways to transition to improved clean fuels and technologies. A highlight of his presentation was a call to stakeholders to consider the viability of the 2028 target for achieving universal access to clean cooking. Further, Murefu highlighted the need to focus on truly transformational solutions rather than simply incremental changes if the sector was to achieve the universal access by 2028 target. He drew attention to contextual issues such as the fact that firewood, which is used by the majority of Kenyan households, is in many cases free to access. This poses a significant challenge to enacting widespread transition since households that needed to begin to pay for fuel would be much harder to persuade.

The overview of the strategy development process was well-received by stakeholders, who acknowledged the need for a viable strategy to lay out the pathway towards universal access to clean cooking by 2028. Although 2028 is just 5 years away, several stakeholders commented on the need for such an ambitious target as the sector requires immediate action. A major piece of feedback was to draw in key stakeholders that have been only peripherally involved in the KNCCS. Particularly attendees highlighted the Ministry of Health and County Governments as the missing pieces of the puzzle that need to be fully engaged from the beginning of the strategy development process.

Issues of messaging and awareness creation were also discussed at length. According to stakeholders, there is limited information on the risks attached to the use of unclean fuels for cooking. For example, participants highlighted the need to reach people at all levels with relevant information regarding the health effects of using unclean fuels. Reference was also made to past successful awareness creation campaigns that could work as a blueprint for upcoming initiatives. It was proposed that a prominent clean cooking ambassador be identified. Finally, the amplification of consumer voices emerged as a key concern, with participants expressing the need for the strategy to take into account the needs of the intended beneficiaries of the transition to clean cooking.

Figure 4: Participant feedback session following the presentation on the KNCCS. Image credit: Gamos East Africa

At this Open Committee Meeting, sector stakeholders were able to interact with the process of developing the KNCCS. The feedback received during this session and on the inception report prepared by EED Advisory will be instrumental in shaping this into a truly inclusive strategy for Kenya’s clean coking strategy.

Stay tuned for the second blog in the series, describing Day 2, when the official launch of the Clean Cooking Week 2023 took place.  

List of sponsors: Clean Cooking Alliance, Modern Energy Cooking Services (MECS), UK PACT Kenya, UKAid, Loughborough University, GIZ – Green Climate Fund, SNV– GIZ Endev, Sustainable Energy Technical Assistance (SETA), Fairtrade Africa, Practical Action, Burn Manufacturing, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), Multilink Sustainability Africa, Koko Networks.

Featured Image: Dr Faith Wandera from the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum giving Participants an Overview of KNCCS Development Process. Image credit: Gamos East Africa

Opportunity: Women in Modern Energy Cooking (WMEC) initiative launched